News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Sutter Lakeside to close two clinics in latest expense reduction measures
Lake County News

Sutter Lakeside Hospital’s administration has decided to close two clinics as part of continued efforts to improve the hospital’s financial picture. The hospital’s Upper Lake Community Health Clinic, a longtime fixture that’s located on the grounds of Upper Lake High School, is slated to be closed, along with the hospital’s clinic that offers chronic pain management, Chief Administrative Officer Siri Nelson told Lake County News Wednesday. The Upper Lake clinic – which serves about 2,400 patients annually and has three full-time employees – loses more than $200,000 annually, Nelson said.

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Visalia hospital to offer residency programs for medical school grads
Visialia Times-Delta

Kaweah Delta Health Care District is well on its way to becoming a teaching institution for young physicians fresh out of medical school.

Last week, the hospital was accredited as an institution for residency training programs for medical school graduates.

This is a first for Tulare County, said Dr. Mark Garfield, chief medical officer.

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Don’t schedule early births, experts tell health care professionals
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

For some time health care professionals have known it’s best to allow a fetus to develop in its mother’s womb until its 39th week of gestation, but that doesn’t always happen. For various non-medical reasons, expectant mothers or their physicians will schedule a birth prior to the 39th week.

Sometimes a physician will schedule an early delivery at the patient’s request.

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Nearly All Anesthesiologists Report Drug Shortages
Health Leaders Media

Anesthesiologists are scrambling for sedation medications across the country, in some cases postponing or changing surgical procedures because of shortages. And in a few cases, patients have died because a needed medication wasn’t available. Those are stark responses to a survey sent out recently by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, which said it captured views from 3,033 anesthesiologists from 50 states and six nations.

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Breast cancer classification promises better therapies
Los Angeles Times

Researchers have found a way to classify breast cancer tumors into 10 distinct categories ranging from very treatable to extremely aggressive, a major step on the way to the long-sought goal of precisely targeting therapies for patients.

The new categories, described in a study released Wednesday, should help scientists devise fresh approaches to treat some of the cancers and could spare many women the risks and pain of unnecessarily toxic treatments, oncologists said.

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CA to test HIV treatment pill for possible preventative use
Southern California Public Radio

A pill which has long served as treatment for the HIV-positive may now work on double-duty as an HIV preventative. Researchers announced Tuesday that they will be testing the pill as a preventative in about 700 gay and bisexual men, and transgendered women, in the Los Angeles and SoCal area.

“The ideal candidate for this kind of pill would be somebody who is repeatedly at high risk of infection,” said Phil Curtis, director of government affairs for AIDS Project Los Angeles. The nonprofit will be helping to recruit study participants.

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Top hospitals use more advanced IT: report
Modern Healthcare

The hospitals named to Thomson Reuters’ 100 Top Hospitals list use more advanced levels of information technology as compared with the broader U.S. hospital population, according to research conducted by a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society subsidiary.

HIMSS Analytics, the organization’s market-research arm, looked at hospitals that received the award in 2009 or 2010 and their HIMSS Analytics’ electronic health-record adoption model scores.

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Senate panel approves newborn-testing bill sought by Camarillo mother
Ventura County Star

In July 2002, Rod and Kathleen Scott of Camarillo brought home their daughter, Jacquelyn, from the hospital — a child they and their doctors believed to be “a beautiful, healthy baby.”

Within two weeks, Jacquelyn began to suffer seizures and cried almost incessantly. It took until nearly her first birthday for a diagnosis to be made: Krabbe disease, a nervous system disorder that occurs in about one of every 100,000 babies.

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Redlands hospital designated as stroke receiver
Redlands Daily Facts

Redlands area residents can now be taken quickly to Redlands Community Hospital when they call 9-1-1 with symptoms of stroke, thanks to its activation as a designated Level II Neurovascular Stroke Receiving Center by the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA). The Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency awarded the designation to the hospital after it earned a Gold Seal from the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center.

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Council OKs SVDH zone change
Porterville Recorder

The Porterville City Council on Tuesday approved a zone change that will allow Sierra View District Hospital to build a new laboratory on the corner of Carmelita Street and Putnam Avenue.

The council (minus Mayor Ron Irish who excused himself due to a conflict of interest) voted unanimously to rezone two properties, where a medical office building and a single-family home currently sit, from low-density residential and professional office to public/semi-public.

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Insurer UnitedHealth’s 1Q profit climbs 3 percent
San Francisco Chronicle

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s first-quarter net income rose 3 percent as enrollment and revenue gains countered an increase in operating costs, and the health insurer raised its 2012 earnings forecast. The Minnetonka, Minn., company said Thursday it earned $1.39 billion, or $1.31 per share, in the three months that ended March 31. That’s up from $1.35 billion, or $1.22 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue grew 7 percent to $27.28 billion.

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UnitedHealth Group adds 1 million clients, raises forecast
Los Angeles Business Journal

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Thursday that its revenues and profits both improved in the latest quarter, as the health insurance giant added 1 million customers in the three-month period. Revenues for the first quarter, which ended March 31, were up 7 percent to $27.3 billion, with sales at its Optum unit growing 8 percent when compared to the same quarter a year ago.

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UnitedHealth to cover autism therapy

UnitedHealth will begin immediately covering behavioral therapy for autism in California, known as applied behavior analysis (ABA). Under an agreement reached Monday between California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, UnitedHealth will maintain an adequate provider network, follow provider orders for treatment specifications and create a dedicated customer service unit that can handle inquiries about the ABA therapy, reported the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

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Desert Valley Hospital ranked among top hospitals
Victorville Daily Press

For the sixth time in nine years, Desert Valley Hospital has been named a “100 Top Hospital” by Thomson Reuters, an independent hospital rating service.

“This award reflects the commitment to excellence and the dedicated patient care that our hospital provides daily,” Margaret R. Peterson, Ph.D., CEO of Desert Valley Hospital said in a press release. “We are proud to be acknowledged as a leader in health care with this prestigious award.”

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Many experience gaps in health coverage, report finds
Modern Healthcare

Adults with intermittent insurance were less likely to have a regular doctor, and one-quarter of adults younger than age 65 went without health insurance for some of the year that ended last June, according to a newly released report.

The report, based on a nationally representative survey for the Commonwealth Fund, found employer health benefits had been the source of coverage for 41% of those who went without insurance at some point during the period. Another 27% never had insurance, according to the report. The online survey was conducted last year between June 24 and July 5.

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What health care reform being overturned will mean for the younger generation
Live Insurance News

One of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions has made it possible for young adults to retain the coverage they’ve had from their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, but if insurance news headlines show that the reforms will be overturned, individuals within the later part of that age group will suddenly find themselves out of luck. Upon graduating from high school or college, many young adults struggle to find employment that includes health benefits, especially in the current economic situation.

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Democrats offer legislation on generic-drug labeling
Modern Healthcare

Democrats in both chambers of Congress have introduced companion legislation that would ensure generic drug companies update their labels if they find new risks or side effects in the same way brand-name manufacturers do.

Current law mandates that generic drug manufacturers use the same Food and Drug Administration-approved labeling for their brand-name counterparts.

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Bay Area hospitals shut out of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Top Hospitals List
San Francisco Business Times

There is no joy in Mudville, or in the mud flats of Emeryville. The mighty Bay Area has struck out. The San Francisco Bay Area is spending billions of dollars rebuilding its hospitals, but none of the local superstars made Modern Healthcare’s most recent Top 100 Hospitals List. The list, actually compiled by Thomson Reuters, ran in the trade publication’s April 16 issue. Eleven California hospitals made it into the top 100, but none of them hailed from the Bay Area.